working dog developed in the village of Groenendaal, Belgium, in 1885. A long-haired black dog, the Belgian sheepdog has a relatively pointed muzzle and erect, triangular ears. It is valued for its intelligence and working ability; in addition to herding sheep, it has been useful as a military dog, guard, and guide for the blind. Typically strong and agile, it stands 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) and weighs 50 to 60 pounds (23 to 27 kg). The Belgian sheepdog is one of several shepherd dogs developed in Belgium. As a result of breeding for ability rather than appearance, there were about seven varieties of sheepherding dogs in Belgium in the late 1800s, when attempts were begun to standardize the appearance of the animals. In addition to the black-haired form, the American Kennel Club also recognizes as distinct breeds the Belgian Tervuren and the Belgian Malinois.
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